December 2, 2023

The Republican-led Home voted on Wednesday to cut back the wage of Protection Secretary Lloyd J. Austin III to $1, as right-wing lawmakers tried to rework a Pentagon spending invoice and a collection of different funding measures into weapons to take goal at President Biden, his agenda and his prime officers.

There may be little probability that Mr. Austin, the primary Black protection secretary, will truly see his pay minimize. The army spending invoice is all however sure to die within the Senate, the place it’s anticipated to satisfy with bipartisan opposition.

However the transfer to strip him of all however $1 of his $235,600 wage, proposed by Consultant Marjorie Taylor Greene of Georgia, mirrored the depth of the right-wing drive to make the army right into a political problem.

Three days earlier than a authorities shutdown, Home Republican leaders spent Wednesday including the wage minimize — and a slew of different far-right proposals to handcuff the Biden administration — to spending payments which have little probability of enactment. It was akin to a legislative tantrum pushed by the arduous proper, whose members are serving to push Congress towards a spending disaster.

The Pentagon funding invoice, together with three different spending payments Home Republican leaders are advancing this week, already was doomed within the Senate and had no probability of changing into regulation. The additions are prone to make passing these payments much more troublesome, and are available at a time when extra mainstream members of the Republican convention are already fuming about arch-conservative coverage prescriptions which have been tacked on to the spending payments.

The Home additionally voted on Wednesday to bar the Pentagon from implementing Mr. Biden’s local weather change-related government orders or requiring service members to obtain the coronavirus vaccine. And it stripped funding for the Pentagon’s workplace of variety, fairness and inclusion.

The measures have been handed by voice vote, which means that lawmakers didn’t take recorded votes to register their positions individually.

Ms. Greene took a victory lap after the passage of her modification, blaming the protection secretary for “the horrific Afghanistan withdrawal,” dwindling recruitment numbers and “the firing of 1000’s of troops for refusing the Covid vaccine.”

“Lloyd Austin, the secretary of protection of the US, undoubtedly deserves to be fired,” Ms. Greene stated. “$1 is an excessive amount of.”

Sabrina Singh, a Pentagon spokeswoman, responded that Mr. Austin “is targeted on main the Division of Protection and making certain our service members worldwide have the sources and help the U.S. army must conduct our mission to defend the nation.”

In an effort to appease the ultraconservative flank of their occasion, prime Home Republicans had already loaded up this yr’s spending payments with a collection of partisan coverage mandates aimed toward amplifying political battles on social points. Lawmakers on the subcommittee that funds the Meals and Drug Administration, for instance, included a provision that may effectively prohibit access to abortion remedy by mail, a observe that’s nonetheless authorized in most states.

Consultant Marc Molinaro of New York, a Republican anticipated to face a troublesome re-election race subsequent yr in a district that voted for Mr. Biden in 2020, stated he would nonetheless help the Pentagon funding invoice.

“I simply would say it’s not the sort of factor that I embrace,” Mr. Molinaro stated of stripping Mr. Austin of his wage.

Consultant Hakeem Jeffries of New York, the Democratic chief, accused Republicans of attempting use the specter of a shutdown “to jam your right-wing ideology down the throats of the American folks.”

“This week may be very revealing, as a result of we’re contemplating payments, together with the one that’s earlier than us proper now, which have zero probability of changing into regulation,” Mr. Jeffries stated. “They usually’re full of excessive coverage poison drugs.”

Kayla Guo and Eric Schmitt contributed reporting.

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